Curbing Carbon from Consumption: The Role of Green Public Procurement

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Because public entities exercise large-scale purchasing power in contracts for goods, services, and construction of infrastructure, policies prioritizing environmentally and socially responsible purchasing can drive markets in the direction of sustainability. In fact, public procurement accounts for an average of 12 percent of GDP in OECD countries, and up to 30 percent of GDP in many developing countries. Significant GHG emissions are attributable to products and services that are commonly procured by governments, for example, large infrastructure such as roads, buildings and railways; public transport; and energy.

The European Commission defines green public procurement (GPP) as "…a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured".

A wide range of countries around the world practice some form of GPP to promote products and materials that are more environmentally friendly and have lower energy or carbon footprint.

This report looks at 30 of those programs, 22 of which are countries in Asia, Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Oceania, and five case-studies at the city and regional level, as well as GPP programs of three multi-lateral banks and the UN to promote sustainable production and consumption. Fifteen of the countries we reviewed are among the top 20 GHG-emitting nations. The GPP programs included in this study are at country-, state-, region-, or city- level.

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